Saturday, January 12, 2008

Inverse recumbent

Oof. From Modern Mechanix via Empathy Test.

The text of the article from 1936 about this bike says:
Natural streamlining is accomplished in a new type of bicycle designed in England for use on speedways. Aware of the discomfort suffered by racers who must remain humped up over their machines for long periods due to air resistance, the designer has placed the drive pedals behind the rear wheels. The handlebars are lowered almost to the level of the front axle.

In this posture the rider is almost horizontal to the ground and in a naturally streamlined position. It is believed the new machine will produce speeds far in excess of anything yet accomplished.


  1. Ouch! That has to hurt!

  2. nice old photo

    how did this not catch on? :)

  3. In theory, a smaller frontal area would serve to reduce drag and allow an increase in speed, but it appears the rider is supported over a large portion of his lower abdomen. That would restrict breathing and effectively limit his endurance.

    Chris Boardman's 'Superman' position was similar in that it reduced frontal area, yet allowed for better breathing.

  4. Something very similar to that was featured on this last Velovision edition.

  5. I love vintage stuff so please excuse the self-link.

    But if interested here are fun two cycling photos from the 1920s of my grandparents.

    Old Cycling Photos

  6.'s fast, it's aerodynamic, it's now at your local bike dealer... the new nad-crusher for 1936...

    ...what's interesting is the wheelbase...i wonder how that machine handled, in light of that riding position ?...

  7. Am I the only one who noticed the rear wheel is the only weight-bearing thing on this bike? Looks like it's about to pinch flat at the first pavement seam he encounters.

  8. bikesgonewild: Dreadful handling is a small price to pay to be able to wheelie right into a running dismount.

  9., yer right, there is always that...

    ...somewhere in a parallel universe, this is probably the preferred design but i'm kinda glad i live in this one...